Preparing for law school should start early. Preferably, you would want to start preparing for your legal education in your freshman year. However, if you are a sophomore and want some guidance on how to start preparing, we are here to help. In this article we will review the things that should be done as a freshman (because you should do those things first), then discuss how you can put plans into action.

What you should focus on as a freshman

In another article, I shared 5 things I wish I knew as a freshman preparing for law school. Those 5 tips are:

  1. Decide on what field of law you want to study
    • This is important because it helps you know what major might be interesting to you and increase your chance of admittance to law school. Plus, some fields of law require undergraduates to have specific kinds of majors (i.e. IP law may require you to have a STEM major).
  2. Think about what organizations you want to join in law school
    • Knowing what organizations you want to be a part of in law school helps you decide on what organizations to be a part of in your undergraduate. Want to be on a moot court team in law school, try debate in your undergrad. Want to be on the law review in law school, try being on a journal board for your department. Start now to make these plans.
  3. Choose a major
    • Although choosing a unique major doesn’t guarantee you a spot in law school, it can help you stand out. Play to your strengths and choose a major that is interesting for you. If it is interesting, unique, and helps you to perform well, having a specific major may help increase your chances of admittance.
  4. Begin to develop relationships with professors
    • Developing relationships with your professors is one of the most important things you can do in your undergrad and should begin happening as soon as possible. As a freshman, decide which professors you connect with most and begin to reach out to them for opportunities to help with research or teaching as a sophomore.
  5. Begin your law school journey with your end goal in mind.
    • When you know your end goal, the path to get there becomes clearer. Know your goal and set your plans as early as you can.

Thankfully, most of these tips are things that you should plan in your freshman year but put into effect throughout the rest of your undergraduate career. For instance, deciding on a field of law establishes a plan that helps you navigate your undergraduate but does not directly affect your academic performance. During your freshman year, you should only be focusing on establishing these plans and getting good grades.

3 additional things you can do as a sophomore to prepare for law school

If you are a sophomore and only recently took an interest in attending law school, you should begin to make plans by following the 5 tips outlined earlier. If you are trying to decide if law school is right for you, you can read the articles relating my personal experience and what you can do to make that decision. After you have made the plans outlined for freshman (but can be done as a sophomore) here are 3 things you can do to begin taking action:

  • Focus on getting good grades

During my undergraduate, I was not much of a partygoer. However, I understand that many students like to spend time partying for some time before fully committing to education. By your sophomore year however, you should be taking your education serious and begin to mature academically. If your grades suffered during your freshman year, be committed to maintaining a high GPA each semester for the remainder of your undergraduate starting now with your sophomore year. Your GPA is one of the biggest things law schools consider when they evaluate applicants.

  • Begin working as a TA or RA for a professor

By now, you should know what professors you liked and what professors you did not like during your freshman year. You should also know what classes you performed well in. Find a class (preferably within your major) that positively aligns with a professor you liked and a class you performed well in. Then reach out to the professor asking for a position as a research or teaching assistant (RA or TA). Keep trying until you find some success.

Professors want to see students that have a solid work ethic, care about their class, and care about the work of the professor. If you focus on these 3 things, the professor is likely to care about you and relationships can begin to develop.

Relationships with professors are vital for 3 reasons. 1. Having positive relationships is a good thing in general and you shouldn’t use people to get what you want. 2. Developing a network with people in your field may help influence careers later on. 3. Having a relationship with a professor early gives them plenty of time to gather information on you as an individual that may later impact Letters of Recommendation.

  • Join organizations related to organizations you want to join in law school

By now, you should be tired of the party scene. If you aren’t, I have another recommendation. You can find a social life by joining organizations. Find organizations that align with your personality, interests, and goals. For example, if you want to be a part of student leadership in law school (Student Bar Association) you can prepare by joining the student body president as an undergrad.

If you have already joined organizations as a member during your freshman year, you can begin to work towards leadership positions. These positions will give you additional experience, expand your network, and look good on a law school application.

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